Hypno

Originally Published: June 1996

Cabo Wabo

I heard you were a high school track star and that you broke your nose during a marathon.

"When I was seventeen, I broke the Arizona twenty-four mile record in 105 degree heat. Afterwards, I was on the toilet at home, and I blanked out. I woke up on the floor with blood everywhere. I passed out and broke my nose in the fall. I still have the record, though. In fact, I was the only one who even finished the race that day.

"One of the strangest things about the original Alice Cooper band was that four of the five guys in the band were four year Lettermen. We got together at the Lettermen's Club talent show. We were true 'Jock Rock.'"

Were you doing hard rock back then?

"When we first started, we did nothing but the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, the Who and all the English rock bands that were an alternative to the Beatles. We wouldn't even do their hits, we'd do their obscure stuff."

What was your first big use of theatrics?

"The first show we ever did was at a high school Halloween dance, and we were called the Earwigs. I was about sixteen then. We built a guillotine on stage, which is funny because we didn't do the guillotine again for ten years."

Where did the name Earwigs come from?

"An Earwig is a little bug that crawls in your ear and ends up crawling into your brain and drives you crazy. It's a real bug - it lays eggs in your brain. We just figured the Beatles, the Earwigs."

What made you change the name?

"When we started getting club gigs, we thought the Spiders would be a better name because we could wear all black and the whole stage could be a big web. We were actually very successful as the Spiders. We opened for everybody in Phoenix, including the Yardbirds. It was amazing because we did their entire set list before they came on!"

How far did you take using a web?

"On Welcome to My Nightmare we had a huge hydraulic web that came up from the floor and we had four dancers in black widow outfits who crawled up the web."

What's been your biggest blooper?

"We had a huge cannon, and I would presumably be fired from it. I loaded myself into the cannon, got out through a side door and there would be a dummy that we'd shoot across the stage into a net. Then we'd make it look like I came out of the net.

"One time they loaded me into the cannon, and when they lit it, the cannon made a huge bang. The dummy came out about half way and just hangs there. All twenty thousand people went nuts. I had to come out and kick the body off the stage. The next day we sold the cannon to the Rolling Stones. We didn't tell them it didn't work."

Your music often has spiritual themes. What is your perspective on religion?

"I am probably shockingly moral in my beliefs, strangely moral. I think the country's morality is killing us. I would like to see an entire romantic period come back in America where people think before they go to bed. Waiting makes sex so much more exciting."

Have you always been so moral?

"I have a deeply engraved moral code because I came out of a Christian household, so you never saw anything on our stage that was Satanic or anti-Christian. I thought that my best three targets were sex, death and money. Those were the things that most people cared about. Politics and religion are two topics I never touched because one is too personal and the other too boring. The whole Alice Cooper character is a satire on morality. Alice did horrible things, and he was executed for it."

Do you hold on to your Christian upbringing?

"Oh sure, absolutely. There are a lot of things I won't touch on stage. I still believe that Alice is a social comedian, a social sort of artist. I make fun of our society, but I don't make fun of God."

Over the thirty years you've performed, what historical event has had the most profound effect on you?

"I would say the growth from hippies and what came next. I used to say that we were the band that drove the stake through the heart of the love generation. The hippies saw the future in Alice Cooper, and it scared them to death."